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IZOD IndyCar Series: Indianapolis 500

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Open Wheel Racing Topics:  Indianapolis 500

IZOD IndyCar Series: Indianapolis 500

Scott Dixon
May 21, 2011


Q. Scott, it was a heck of an effort and it looks like it was between you and Tags for the last few days and that's exactly what it came down to.
SCOTT DIXON: Yeah, it was kind of a strange day, and it was good to see everybody stick it out, and kudos to IMS for actually drying the track and getting the fast nine show going at the end. I think it was a good effort, and obviously everybody stuck around to see it.
Yeah, we missed a little bit, I think, at the end. The conditions were substantially a little bit -- well, not substantially, a little bit better. I think that's why you saw the increase in speeds. But Dario obviously missed on fuel a little more than what we did, and we ran out in one and I ran out just getting to turn four. I think that cost us the pole.
We had 227.5s across the board for the whole three laps to start with, and going into 3 looking at my splits on my wheel, I was the same or if not up on those laps, even before I ran out of gas, and we lost nine tenths of a mile an hour on the last lap. A bit frustrating, and I know Dario is a probably a little more ticked off than what I am. To come so close and not quite get it was real frustrating.
Not to obviously take anything away from Tagliani. He did a fantastic job. It's a team that he put together a few years ago, and obviously to see them so strong and take the pole, I feel real happy for him and what he's achieved.

Q. If you put two more gallons of fuel in the tank, how much speed would that have cost you?
SCOTT DIXON: I think we only needed about a quarter of a gallon or half a gallon. It's pretty close. Dario could have probably have used two gallons. I think we still would have ran -- that's why I said the split was about the same going into 3, which was saying that we had run a 227.5 or better, so that would have put our average at 227.5, something. I still don't have clarification of what Tag actually ran in the end for an average, but I think that would have been pretty close.

Q. The guys in the shop talked the last couple weeks about precision and executing and making sure the little things are done right. That said, we got a little surprised, making sure you guys have enough fuel to qualify, and also, what do you -- how is your mindset of the entire team as you head into next week?
SCOTT DIXON: Yeah, I can imagine it's pretty exciting in the team truck car at the minute, and I haven't seen Chip yet. Obviously Dario lost a lot more than I did. I lost the pole, I think, due to it. But Dario lost a good six or seven positions.
You know, obviously mistakes happen, and I made a mistake early in my qualifying run this morning where I almost spun and had to do a big lift in 3, which it happens. I think with the big downtime, almost two and a half, three hours from the rain delay, that kind of stuff, maybe the engine had too many warm-ups, chewed through the gas quite a bit, and it kind of seems to me that that's what we missed by is maybe one engine warm-up on fuel and we didn't calculate for that. Dario's was a little more as I said earlier.
But yeah, it's frustrating, but it goes back to that saying that most of us hate, "That's racing."

Q. Did you think about it when Dario had a problem and you went out in were you wondering if you were going to have a problem?
SCOTT DIXON: It did cross my mind because we were -- I was on the team channel before that obviously just listening in to how his run was going, and it also helps what gears you should run when I go out. And he got his fuel warning light in like lap one or two, which is really strange, and I'm like, wow, that's odd, because Mike said it on my radio, and I was like, maybe it's just the threshold or setting is wrong. And then when he came through 1 on the third lap, I heard him -- I thought he lifted, and I'm like, man, he's got another lap to go. I hope he's just in a lift. But obviously it ran out of fuel.
So exactly what happened, instead of running through my head, I was like, hmm, we use probably the same numbers all the time to calculate fuel, and hopefully we didn't mess up on my car because obviously it's too late at that point; you can't just pull out and put fuel in with how the rules are. It's kind of frustrating in some ways that we only got given one attempt today, and I think Dario last year was like, we only need to do one attempt. I'm sure if it was -- you asked him right now, he probably would have liked another attempt. Yeah, it happened, and that was it.

Q. The Ganassis and the Penskes have dominated here, especially in qualifications and even in the races, as well. You guys may well dominate the race, your two teams. But what do you think about the lesser teams doing so well in qualifying, and what does that say about Indianapolis?
SCOTT DIXON: Um, you know, I think if you -- a lot of the times -- I'm not a team owner or anything, and I don't even want to attempt to be one. But I think maybe it's where you put your emphasis on where you spend your development money, and yeah, I know Tagliani and his guys in Allen McDonald and them have obviously worked extremely hard, and that I think showed curing the week. I don't think I ever saw them do one race run. They focused solely on trying to get the pole. The cars were definitely fast, and you could see that across the stable. At least three or four of those cars were in the top nine. I think today was a real strange mix of people and efforts, and even to see Helio starting 16th is kind of mindboggling.
But I think the weather conditions, how the day played out, the short amount of time with 40-something cars trying to qualify is really hard to get your time right and really nail your first attempt, and it caught a lot of people out today.
It's a good mix. I think it will make the race fantastic. You're going to see some good cars coming from a little further back and maybe some cars that haven't concentrated on race setup too much slip up.

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